24 posts tagged "Natalie Massenet"
Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, and the new chairman of the British Fashion Council, was in a justifiably good mood after three days of men’s shows in London. We were talking about the factors that contributed to shows’ success, and one thing that was instantly obvious was how the established and the edge have come together under one umbrella: Savile Row and…well, whatever Aitor Throup is.
Throup’s presentation in a gallery in King’s Cross (above) was titled New Object Research, but the parentheses were more significant: (The full reveal of the first complete ready-to-wear collection). Twenty pieces arranged in four looks is scarcely complete in any traditional sense, but it was the culmination of six years of work, and six years of intense optimism on the part of industry insiders who’ve patiently clung to the conviction that Throup brings something unique to fashion. It was certainly on display here in the extraordinary construction of the clothes and the stark beauty of their presentation. Throup is a man obsessed. All he wants is a new way to do things, and once he has mastered that way, he would love it to become an industry standard. You haven’t appreciated a buttonhole until you’ve heard him detail the process with which he closes his garments. And to hear him talk about the perfect shoulder is surely a glimpse of what Cristobal Balenciaga’s acquaintances must have endured as Cris nattered on about sleeves.
But a similar fixation on detail has been the fundament of British menswear since Beau Brummell first went to his military tailor in 1790-something and said, “I want you to make me this.” Richard James’ presentation on Tuesday (left) made it quite clear that he is Throup’s diametric opposite, but maybe they’d recognize the subversion in each other. James is dressing men of power and industry (David Cameron, the prime minister, wore a James suit at his Downing Street reception for the men’s collections) but the press notes for his Fall presentation quoted lyrics from the Small Faces’ acid fantasy “Itchycoo Park.” Yes, the collection was inspired by London’s parks, but Itchycoo was a very special one. It’s always been part of James’ charm that he insinuates left-field references into his work. Here, there was tailoring in the blue of sky, the green of grass, the maroon of a Kray’s night out—not quite psychedelic, but bright nonetheless. And he had the best front row of the week: Magic Mike‘s Alex Pettyfer, The Hobbit‘s Martin Freeman, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, and everyone’s Tinie Tempah. Now there’s a dinner party. And that’s London now.
Natalie Massenet and Roland Mouret go way back, all the way back to both Net-a-Porter’s and Mouret’s earliest days. At London’s Regent Street Apple store last night, the two friends gave a cozy fireside chat to a group of fashion fans. “We’ve seen our businesses grow together largely due to technology,” explained Massenet. “We always had these private conversations about technology so we thought, hey, why not have this chat in public?” So last night they did in celebration of Net-App, the latest gizmo on the site, which downloads shopping info from NAP directly onto your iPhone and iPod. “Needing a computer to shop is so last year,” proclaimed Mouret. “It doesn’t mean you have to be antisocial. It’s all about pushing the levels of access and letting women shop whenever we want,” said Massenet, who needless to say didn’t mind as the crowd twittered and blogged away onto all their various devices. “This is just a culmination of our vision from 1999, to provide access to shopping on every available technology.” The next sci-fi-cum-fashion frontier for Massenet and co.? “Online fitting,” she explained. “We’re always talking to companies who are working on cracking the code.” Avoiding returns because of fit is apparently every e-tailer’s bugaboo. Added Massenet, “The company that comes up with a real solution will be very wealthy indeed.”
Selma Weiser, founder of cutting-edge Upper West Side boutique Charivari, died late last Friday at 84. Famous for giving Marc Jacobs his first job in fashion and discovering Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester, Weiser will be missed. [WWD]
Burberry’s Christopher Bailey and Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Massenet were named Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen this Saturday, to which we say, most excellent. [WWD]
Ronnie Wood wants to make you a Liberty of London jersey dress with a matching clutch. You’ve been warned. [Grazia Daily]
My week started off with a trip to London to attend a dinner hosted in my honor by Natalie Massenet and Net-a-Porter. I haven’t been to London in quite some time and was looking forward to going back. After flying overnight from New York, I was taken to Blakes, where I would be staying. I was struck by the eclectic decor; each room is an “environment” and one of a kind. I heard that Mickey Rourke frequented the hotel and wondered if I’d run into him. I loved The Wrestler! After settling in, I headed to the Net-a-Porter headquarters on the top level of the historical Whiteleys Centre, but not before spotting a waffle stand downstairs and indulging in a Nutella-covered slice—delicious. In addition to meeting many British press throughout the day, we launched my first exclusive dress for Net-a-Porter, an embroidered silk sheath done in citron and cream. I was glad to hear that the shipment had just arrived from New York, and that many dresses sold in the hours after it went live. It was back to Blakes for dinner. The restaurant is lovingly decorated in East-meets-West style but with a distinct spin by its owner/designer Anouska Hempel. A fabulous group of editors and Net-a-Porter faithfuls including Lisa Armstrong, Style.com’s Sarah Mower, Jane Bruton, Calgary Avansino, Pippa Holt, Fi Rubie, Lucy Yeomans, and Sam Conti attended and many came wearing my designs—what a lovely surprise! The next morning, before heading back to New York, I took Natalie’s advice and stopped by Notting Hill on my way to the airport to visit one of her favorite vintage shops, One. The store is a fantastic little jewel box filled with vintage treasures. I spotted a thirties beaded gown that was so fabulous; I definitely left inspired. Heading down the street I spotted Sarah Lerfel from Colette. What a coincidence! We caught up briefly before I stopped by Julie’s for a little lunch, where they serve very English dishes such as cottage pie, and Julie herself took our orders. I was happy to have a few moments to take in the city before I wrapped up my 24-hour jaunt.